AUSTIN – Gov. Rick Perry today thanked veterans and their families for their service and sacrifice for our nation at the 2014 Texas Veterans of Foreign Wars Mid-Winter Conference. The governor also highlighted steps Texas has taken to ensure veterans and their families have access to the services they need and deserve when they return to civilian life.

“I’m proud Texas has produced so many American heroes, and I’m just as proud that we’re a welcoming destination for those who might’ve been born elsewhere,” Gov. Perry said. “The freedom, the prosperity and the quality of life we enjoy in Texas, and in America as a whole, are possible only because of the sacrifices so many have made on battlefields around the world. While we can never fully repay that debt, Texas will continue to do what we can to improve the lives of our veterans, particularly by freeing them to make the most of the opportunities they have.”

Gov. Perry has consistently made assisting service members, veterans and their families a priority for his administration. Under the governor’s leadership, Texas has increased funding for veterans mental health programs by $5 million over the next two years. Gov. Perry also signed into law an extension of the property tax exemption for 100 percent disabled veterans to include their surviving spouses.

Just as critical for returning veterans and their families is the availability of quality jobs, and Texas continues to implement policies to help veterans return to the civilian workforce. Under Gov. Perry’s leadership, Texas has implemented College Credit 4 Heroes, which awards college credit for skills and experiences gained in military service. In addition, the Hiring Red, White and You program features a job fairs across the state for veterans and their spouses, which led to nearly 3,000 new jobs for veterans and their spouses in 2012 alone.